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Raising Capital - Top Tips for Successful Fundraising

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by Startacus Admin

Successful Fundraising

Fundraising Tips from Cally Russell

There is no denying it building a successful business is tough and one of the most challenging and exhausting aspects we, as entrepreneurs, have to tackle is fundraising, generally it is not something we have to do very often and when you do, you do it on top of all your other day jobs!

Someone who knows all about fundraising is 29 year old Edinburgh based entrepreneur, Cally Russell, founder and CEO of Mallzee, the UK’s largest multi-retailer fashion Cally Russell Mallzeeshopping app.  Mallzee has to date, raised £3.1 million from a series of investors including; the Royal Mail Group, Scottish Investment Bank, Par Equity, and angel investors including; Gareth Williams (Skyscanner CEO).

You might even have seen Cally pitching Mallzee to investors as he appeared on an episode of BBCs Dragon Den and was offered (but turned down) a full offer of investment from retail guru Peter Jones.

Here he gives his top tips on how he approaches fundraising.

Top Tips for Successful Fundraising

  1. Network, network, network - the best way to meet investors (or anyone) is through a positive introduction - as an entrepreneur you should act like you are always fundraising - you never know who you might meet and who they might know.

  2. Remember fundraising is a slow process you need to build relationships with investors over time. People buy from people they like, trust, respect and believe in which can take time to build up. It’s like Mark Suster says - people invest in lines and not dots.

  3. You are the ‘face’ of your business and you must always come across as passionate and confident even when you are having a bad day!  The Dragons on Dragons Den often talk about investing in the founding team because they believe in them rather than merely focusing on the idea/product

  4. Identify the right target investors and do your homework. Research the relevancy and interests of those you’re pitching to. When planning your pitch constantly put yourself in potential investors shoes and make it personal to them.

  5. Storytell and have a narrative. Take the complexity out of your business and industry to help investors understand exactly what you do, your ‘unique selling point’ and how your business is monetised.  

  6. Fundraising is a contact sport. Travel and talk to people. Don’t limit yourself to one location.

  7. Different investors/investment vehicles back businesses at different stages of their lifecycle and scale so even if it’s a no to investing right now - they might in the future so never burn any bridges.

  8. Investors back companies where they see traction. If you continue to deliver against what you have said, you’ll find ongoing support.

  9. Have a strong PR and marketing strategy so you can send email updates with collateral to potential VCs. PR also helps to generate inbound funding opportunities - after I was on Dragons Den we were inundated with investment approaches.

  10. Pay it forward. Be part of the community and ecosystem - we have benefitted hugely from support from the Edinburgh start-up community and we now help organise investment dinners and startup events ourselves.

With fundraising, it’s all about the personal connection and meeting people, you know your business best and are its best advocate - get out there and tell your story.  You will undoubtedly receive a huge amount of nos before you get a yes and you cannot take them personally - even the most successful entrepreneurs have been there,  success came because they persevered...

Read more from Cally Russell on Linkedin and download Mallzee today free from Google Play or iOS app stores.

Background On Mallzee;

Founded just four short years ago Mallzee, commonly dubbed the Tinder for fashion, brings together hundreds of high street retailers allowing users to find, compare, save and buy clothes shoes and accessories in one handy free app.  Now with one million users rating millions of products daily Mallzee has been named by Yahoo as ‘one of six apps that will change the way we shop forever”. Mallzee not only helps users find great fashion but the team also uses the unique product preference data to provide retailers with actionable insight dashboards; Product Intelligence and Product Future.


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Published on: 12th June 2017

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